Examples of Amazing Animal Camouflage
Now you see them, now you don’t! Animals have evolved just like us and are able to do amazing things including camouflaging themselves. This ability is also called cryptic coloration. It is a defense mechanism or a strategy used by organisms to conceal their appearance, typically to fit into their surroundings and hide their location, identity and movement. This ability enables prey to evade their predators. Let’s get into five examples of animals that have the ability to camouflage.
1. Soft Coral Crabs
The soft coral crab also known as candy crab can easily be mistaken for a blob of the soft coral in the waters of Indonesia where it resides. This crab is only about two centimeters and while they may look fierce and able to take on other creatures, they are actually hiders. These amazing creatures pinch off clumps of soft coral and place them on their backs to increase their camouflage. These pink and white crabs also have spindles all over their bodies that resemble the branches of the corals.
2. Lichen Katydid
Lichen katydid is an insect found in the forest canopy in Central and South America. Until recently, entomologists knew very little about this amazing creature because their elusive nature makes them very difficult to study. Like all other species of katydid, they camouflage. Their bodies are varying shades of green and are covered with spindly protrusions. These features help the insect blend in with the lichen trees and the background of the trees. Its sculptured appearance allows it to hide in plain sight.
3. Dead Leaf Moth
The Uropyia meticulodina is a species of moths more commonly known as the dead leaf moth that can mimic a dead fallen curled up leaf. This moth spends most of its time on the floor of the forests of China and Taiwan. The wings are as straight as that of any moth; however, when at rest the curled up effect is made by tiny scales on the wings. They are a similar shade as a curled up dead leaf. The veins on the wings are perfectly aligned, giving it a realistic look.
4. Whitebanded Crab
Found in the United States and Canada, the Misumenoides formosipes better known as the whitebanded crab is a species of crab spiders. They are mostly found on flowers waiting for their prey. It is one of the organisms that not only has camouflage but more impressively has active camouflage. Active camouflage means it has the exceptional ability to change its color to reflect its surroundings. The female whitebanded crab has the ability to have reversible color changes where they can go back and forth between yellow and white depending on the surroundings by the movement of pigmented fluid running through their bodies. The color change takes time and occurs between three to nine days.
5. Moorish Gecko
The Moorish gecko is a lizard that is found widespread in urban and coastal settings in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. It has the ability to alter its color to blend in with its environment. This lizard has opsins, a type of protein in their skin that responds to light. Opsins are usually found in the eyes of animals including this lizard; however, it is present all over the skin of its torso, particularly the lizard’s flank. Based on experiments, researchers have explained that the flank opsins cause the gecko’s color to change in response to surrounding light levels. The gecko was placed on a colored surface and when its eyes were covered, it changed color but there was no color change when the torso was covered.
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